"Gospel" guitar

Craftsman Larry Robinson, who designs and crafts custom inlayed musical instruments, has created a true work of art in a guitar, decorated with inlays based on the Lindisfarne gospels. The Lindisfarne Project is chronciled on Robinson's blog. (photos)

Robinson, who collaborated with master guitar builder Kevin Ryan writes:

Sometime in 2005, when I was part way through the 00 Nouveau inlays, I decided to approach another master luthier about collaborating on another large project. Kevin Ryan was a logical choice as I had done many inlays for him over the years, and I have great respect for his ability to consistently make superior guitars.

When I think of themes for these forays into the unknown I take into account the type of guitar I’ll be altering, the personality of the luthier building the instrument, and what kind of artwork that will hopefully still have appeal and investment potential hundreds of years from now. I could, if I wished, assemble some inlays reflective of life in our world as it is today, but if it was representative of, say, Madonna, in 2307 it would maintain little or no appeal (unless of course, if she turns out to be the Second Coming or the Antichrist, and then the guitar might fetch some stratospheric price). Anyway, Kevin and I talked about it and he was leaning toward a Celtic knot theme, which I wasn’t all that keen on, after taking it to the limit in the 90’s with the Fender Celtic Telecaster.


While looking for some simpler knots for position markers on another guitar, I came across something called the Lindisfarne Gospels. To quote our friends across the pond, I was totally gobsmacked. About eighty years prior to the Book of Kells, Eadfrith, the Bishop of Lindisfarne managed to design and execute one of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts I’ve ever seen. As with other literature at the time, it was religious in orientation, comprising the first four books of the New Testament. I knew Kevin would be pleased.